Walt Whitman

Ethiopia Saluting the Colors

1 WHO are you, dusky woman, so ancient, hardly human, With your woolly-white and turban’d head, and bare bony feet? Why, rising by the roadside here, do you the colors greet? 2 (’Tis while our army lines Carolina’s sand and pines, Forth from thy hovel door, thou, Ethiopia, com’st to me, As, under doughty Sherman, I march toward the sea.) 3 Me, master, years a hundred, since from my parents sunder’d, A little child, they caught me as the savage beast is caught; Then hither me, across the sea, the cruel slaver brought. 4 No further does she say, but lingering all the day, Her high-borne turban’d head she wags, and rolls her darkling eye, And curtseys to the regiments, the guidons moving by. 5 What is it, fateful woman—so blear, hardly human? Why wag your head, with turban bound—yellow, red and green? Are the things so strange and marvelous, you see or have seen?

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